Yesterday our second church service (we're kind of attending two churches now--it's complicated) was in a park. We picnicked together first. Then we had our worship service, sitting around in a circle in our lawn chairs. Doing that was a good reminder of the freedoms we celebrate on Independence Day--that there are countries where worshiping anywhere, let alone in public, is illegal.
It also forces you to be public in your faith--people are walking and driving by as you worship. It's a good thing. Sometimes we hide behind church walls too much. In the summer the second part of the worship time on any Sunday is going over to the park and having ice cream and sharing it with people in the park. It's good for a church to have presence in the community.
As we were getting to church friends from our other church called to ask if they could get together with us for a bonfire before fireworks (it was a tradition for them, but they weren't able to do it where they normally did). So when church was over we ended up inviting many families over from church and just hanging out in our yard with a bonfire for s'mores. And plenty of good conversation, of course. It's enjoyable to have a yard that we can relax in and have people hang out in during the summer.
As it got closer to time for the fireworks to begin, we made our way down to the riverfront to watch them. It was much different than the fireworks we attended the last couple summers in St. Louis Park. There a few hundred people were gathered in one park where the fireworks were right overhead. And they were really good for a smaller suburb.
The fireworks in Minneapolis weren't as spectacular (they save the big ones for their Aquatennial celebration later this summer) and not as long lasting, but they were still enjoyable. There were probably several thousand of people lined along the Mississippi River on both sides for a few miles. It was a much different atmosphere. Still fun, but different.
Tonight an old friend from Iowa is staying with us (our first overnight guest besides my family who were here to help us move in). I think relationships are the thing I'm enjoying so far about our move. It's much easier to have people over in a house than it is in a crammed apartment. It's much easier to meet your neighbors when you can sit in your porch or eat in your yard than it was living in an apartment where your windows overlooked the parking lot. It's easier to have people stay over when you have a bed to offer them instead of a couch.
Of course our freedom is what makes all that possible. Of that I am aware. And grateful. And I know I've said it plenty times before when talking about freedom, but Spiderman is right: with great freedom comes great responsibility. Once we learn the responsibility side of things, our freedom will be all the much better--as will our nation (and our world, I daresay).